Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland will lift its mask mandate on Saturday, May 15, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement that fully-vaccinated Americans can safely remove their masks in public.
Masks will still be required for those on public transportation, in health care settings and schools for the time being.
Those who are not fully vaccinated should still consider wearing a mask in public, Hogan said. He said there is no way to confirm who has and who hasn’t been vaccinated, so the state decided to remove the mandate and instead relay the CDC’s best practices with regard to mask use.
At a Wednesday news conference, Hogan said the state planned to revoke the mask mandate once 70% of the adult population had received at least one dose of vaccine. On Thursday, the CDC made a surprise announcement that fully-vaccinated Americans could safely remove their masks in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Maryland was already set to remove indoor and outdoor venue capacity restrictions starting Saturday, in accordance with Hogan’s Wednesday announcement.
Hogan attributed the state’s improving health metrics to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines. He said there are no lingering supply issues with the vaccines.
He also said the state will likely begin closing the mass vaccination centers that opened during the vaccine rollout at the end of the month, but that it would depend on how many people they were processing.
“I said when we stood them up … ‘My goal is to put ourselves out of business,’ and we’re getting close to being out of business,” Hogan said.
With over 3,000 places across Maryland now offering vaccines, Hogan said the mass vaccination sites are becoming less necessary.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also announced Friday that his state would be removing their mask mandate effective at midnight.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic in Maryland, counties have the power to retain stricter guidelines, and some counties have already said they will not be lifting their mask mandates immediately, while others have indicated they will follow the governor’s lead.
Prince George’s County has said it will not be lifting its mask mandate yet. Masks will still be required at indoor businesses, on public transportation and at crowded outdoor events, such as concerts.
Montgomery County said all current county board of health regulations remain in effect. The county council will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday to consider changes to existing guidelines.
St. Mary’s and Charles Counties told WTOP they have yet to make a decision one way or the other on their mask mandates. A spokesperson for Charles County said county commissioners would be consulting the county health officer on the matter.
Frederick, Howard, Baltimore, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties said they would follow the state’s decision and lift their mask mandates.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman urged residents to get vaccinated.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, go get your shot. We need a summer surge in vaccinations to prevent a fall surge in cases,” he said.
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